It seems all focused on Tottington and broadly the Bury/Bolton area. This of course will continue to grow. However my father can trace his history back to Harmston, thence to India, Cornwall and then via London to Tottington. Pix and info to follow. He had a large family too! Then of course is my wife's family, father from what we thought was originally Sussex, but we now know Hampshire! Last but not least my mother-in-Law, part German and part Polish.
Probably time for some sort of Genealogy table!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Tottington 1980 by Lancashire Life

Hope I am not transgressing an ancient copyright! I probably am, but I am publishing the March 1980 copy of Lancashire Life that has the article on Tottington - That makes 32 years. Pictures and captions first followed by the text. (My comments in brackets). A copy of the PDF can be found here. It is a very large file sorry! I will transcribe the rest shortly!

The start of the transcription starts here: The italics are mine!


It's hard to think of Tottington as being a part of Greater Manchester. The long straight road leading to the town out of Bury is lined on either side with splendid terraces of houses, stone-built and and fortress-solid, so that driving between them is like passing through a spacious railway cutting. And although you will find that Messrs Wimpey and their ilk have erected modern estates which differ not one brick from other modern estates any where in Britain, the terrain is different, and the view is different, and the place has an almost intangible individuality about it. Any connection with the city of Manchester seems almost ridiculous. The little town is on the edge of the moors and Manchester is is somewhere where Tottington folk go to- to work or to shop, or to have a night out. Not for one moment do they feel a part of it. Nor, in fact, do they even consider themselves a part of Bury to which they were once linked by tram (from 1883 to 1904 by steam tram) and since the local government reorganisation of 1974 are linked administratively .
It is too old and its roots are too deep to be disturbed fundamentally by any bureaucratic paper shuffling and several times when I mentioned the name “Tottington” it brought a polite correction “ Don't you mean “ The Royal and Ancient Manor of Tottington?”
And so I did. They are proud of their ancient and royal connection. Though the village was overlooked by the compilers of Domesday Book, it was certainly in existence the time. The name is Old English and id derived from Tota, the name of the chief of those times, ingas meaning followers' and ton , a settlement. After the Norman Conquest it became part of the Barony of Montbegon( one of whom Roger de Montbegon was present at the signing of the Magna Carta) and by coincidence there is still a lady living in the district whose family still has a Montbegon hiding in its branches.
Mrs Phyllis Hampson and her husband , Cyril have lived in Greenmount for a long time and although part of her family originated in the area she herself was born in Dorset. Her husband's research into her ancestry revealed the Montbegon link, though at the time it was not something he was not particularly seeking.. His genealogical delvings were sparked off by the fact that his wife's second name is “Spenser” and it has been traditional in her family for all the children to be given that name with any other. She is thus “Phyllis Spenser Hampson” and is very proud of the fact that it betokens her direct descent from the 16th century poet Edmund Spenser – he of the The Faerie Queen.
It is in fact to Cyril Hampson, a former councillor and one time champion of the Tottington Urban District Council, that I owe the details of Tottington's origins. On its absorption into the Bury Metropoliton District and the new Greater Manchester County in 1974, he wrote a brief history from which I was able to put the place into some sort of perspective. As a stranger, I found it all a little confusing for when I declared my interest to Councillor Harold Taylor (the last Chairman of the UDC) he said, like Professor Joad of twenty-five years ago, “ It all depends what you mean by Tottington. Do you mean the Royal Manor of Tottington? Or Tottington Higher-End? Or Tottington Lower-End? Or the Parish of Tottington? Or the former Urban District? Or the present electoral area? Are you including Greenmount, Walshaw, Affetside, Hawkshaw and Holcombe Brook? They're all Tottington really.

Page 1

So you can see that Tottington is a name to be conjured with.
The actual manor covered an area of some 15 square miles from just outside Bury almost to Rawtenstall. It became part of the honour of Clitheroe which eventually became part of the Earldom of Lancaster which in due course - was raised to Duchy status. When the Duke of Lancaster seized the throne and became Henry IV his duchy became Royal and so did the Manor of Tottington.
For the next three or four hundred years or so little of any consequence disturbed the peace of the area. Largely moor-land, it was not the most hospitable place in which to live and the main occupation was sheep farming and handloom weaving. At its peak there were over a thousand handlooms in use over the area.
By the beginning of the 19th century however, it had become a cotton town and in 1820 there arrived on the scene a young man who was to become one of Tottington's most powerful and influential figures.
Joshua Knowles, a man in his early twenties from Ramsbottom, took over Tottington Mill. For the previous  thirty years it had been turning out muslin, but Knowles converted it into a calico-printing works and it flourished. He attracted a whole new workforce to the town and the long terraces of houses were built to accommodate them. He himself built some houses along his mill, together with school and a shop.
other complementary industries followed but Knowles was the biggest employer. He fostered a good community spirit and his very fine residence, Stormer Hill, was the the focal point for many a festive occasion, particularly on Whit Fridays when the mill wrkers and their families processed through the town and wound up at their master's home for tea and cakes and fun and games in an adjoining field.
In 1938, to celebrate the coronation of Queen Victoria, Tottington Mill employees walked in procession to Bury , four miles away, proudly carrying printed calico banners. The first two proclaimed loyally GOD BLESS OUR QUEEN, the third hoped for PROSPERITY FOR BRITAIN and the fourth, mindful that prosperity begins at home, SUCCESS TO THE PRINT TRADE.
Knowles' mill was the first to use an eight colour printing machine and the firm exhibited at the Great Exhibition. When Joshua died his brother, Samuel took over and on his retirement the company became part of the Calico Printers Association. The mill (which inspired a Lowry drawing in 1921) was closed down in 1929 and all that remains of it is Tower Terrace, a stone embattled structure, complete with inner courtyard, which once housed some of the workers.
closures of other mills followed and and in the years leading up to the Second World War Tottington settled down into something of a quiet residential suburb of Bury. However for all its rurality it did not escape the ravages of war. Att 5.50 a.m. on the morning of Christmas Eve 1944, German aircraft penetrated the east coast over the Humber Estuary and and launched a flying bomb in the general direction of Manchester. It overshot its target and exploded on a row of cottages in Chapel Street immediately opposite the parish church. Eight people were killed. When the war was over, Mr and Mrs Whitehead, who then lived in Stormer Hill, Joshua Knowles old house, just beyond the blitzed site and gave £5000 for its conversion into a memorial garden.

Quite unexpectedly, Tottington can boast another park which would be the envy of many a place five times the size. Imaginatively conceived out of a former farm (Lawsons - but I believe he was a council tenant, he kept cows but there were also henhouses in the main area of the field too. very run down, never saw any chickens ever.) Old Kay's Park covers some seventeen acres of up and down countryside at Greenmount and enjoys a view of the rolling moors towards Holcombe Hill with its chimney like Peel Memorial.
The park was the last major achievement of the Tottington UDC before its disappearance into the maw of "bury metro" - and unashamedly they admit that it is a bulwark against further development against further development round that area.
The demise of the UDC was as in so many places, deeply regretted. Now Tottington is just an electoral ward clasped in a tentacle of the Bury Metro octopus and residents shake their heads sadly and talk of being neglected. It was cold and icy when I was there "but they never grit the roads, do they - and what about the old Town Hall?"

Mrs Gladys Coupe, a retired librarian and a keen local historian, is much concerned about Tottington's fate and has tried to stir up public opinion before it's too late.
The old 18th century building was once Tottington Hall, the home of successive cotton merchants and mill owners, which was acquired by the UDC for its headquarters. A rather ordinary square stone property it is never the less of historic interest and splendidly situated with its lawn now an attractive bowling green. The ground floor serves as a most inadequate library and the upper floor is out of use. Tottington badly needs rooms for meetings and other community purposes but the building does not meet present day fire regulations and is badly in need of refurbishing. To demolish and put up a new building would caost a quarter of a million pounds, to restore it and make it safe would cost £144000. The first option is ruled out because it is a listed building - and anyway, Tottington does not want to lose it - and the second plan is a non starter in the present economic climate. " It seems to be a stalemate". says Mrs Coupe" but something needs to be done soon. It must not be left just to rot."

Tottington today is unequivocally a dormitory town. Beginning in 1964 with those Wimpey houses at Walshaw, new estates have been going up steadily ever since, though I am told all available land has now been taken and the town has reached the planned optimum population of around 12000. Many of the new Tottingtonians came from deep inside Manchester and Salford, sniffing the clean country air like rabbits emerging from their burrows. Living here makes the journey home from some industrial nether region seem almost like going on holiday.
Not all the incomers have however settled on the new estates; some have opted for the terraced houses along Bury road and roads off. Looking as though they will last a thousand years, most of the houses have had there first century's grime sand-blasted away, some have had new "classical" front doors fitted, and a few have been equipped with bow fronted Georgian windows. A purist would say that they are now out of character, but to me that displays a heart-warming pride in ownership.
And in the nineteen-sixties Tottington had the distinction of achieving the highest birth-rate in the land. It may of course have been something in the water, but I strongly suspect that the sheer joy of living in such a pleasant environment had a lot to do with it.
These are the 5 pages that comprised the article.


These are the individual pictures together with the comments on them from the article!

Where old abuts new: the Co-op, reconstructed after a fire and reopened in 1978, has a neighbour the Robin Hood Inn dating from 1708. A former licensee Mrs. Mary Hannah Nuttall, died in 1942 and left money in trust for the building of almshouses for the oldest of Tottington natives in need of accommodation. So it was that "Polly of of the Robin's" four almshouses were built at Greenmount.

A free-lance journalist specialising in crown green bowls, Councillor Harold Taylor is one of Tottington's three representatives on Bury Metropolitan District Council. The last chairman of Tottington UDC before its disbandment. He is also chairman of Tottington High School Governors and a Hollymount School Governor who has played a role in obtaining the town's new health centre.
Harwood Road (The Dungeon is on the right - I used to come hurtling down Harwood Road on my bike - the object was not to use any brakes at all from Gorsey Clough - Most time I managed it!)
Market Street (Reads Fish shop is to the left, just about where the shoppers are. The road goes straight to Bury from here.)

Already in use and to be formally opened on April the 9th is Tottington's 3000.000 health centre. Performing the opening ceremony will be the man credited with instigating the centre. Dr Seymore Jones, now retired, and formerly Medical Officer of Health for Tottington under the UDC
It takes more than a spot of snow to stop work going on in the Whitehead Memorial Gardens. Those trees on the left occupy part of the site of a row of houses destroyed by a flying bomb.

Who's a pretty girl then? Michelle Davies is and if proof were needed, last year( when she was six) she went to London from her hoe in Tottington's Wellbank Street as one of half a dozen finalists in the national "Miss Pears" competition. No she didn't win - but she returned richer by a cheque for £200

Playing his part in the development of Tottington's adults of the future is Joseph Lofthouse, who last year became the headmaster of Tottington High School, which has 850 pupils. He was previously head of Haslingden Country Secondary School. (Thirty years later I almost applied for a job as an IT teacher at this school - who knows what would have happened - when I knew my former mentor had applied I withdrew my application)
Tottington's oldest resident, Whitefield born Mrs Edith Brooks celebrated her 100th birthday las August. She is seen here with Sister Barbara, Sister in charge of Hollymount Convent.

At Dob Lane Head, the Printer's Arms is a reminder of Tottington's calico printing industry

Nelson Hargreaves is a boot and shoe repairer and a clogger - one of only four he believes still operating in Lancashire. Not that he makes many clogs these days - they've tended to become a luxury, their cost prohibitive in relation to mass produced footwear
Tottington was in the parish of Bury until 1799 when the parish church of St Anne was built.

Devoting much of their spare time to voluntary community work are these five girls from Tottington High School, left to right Deborah Kay, Karen Norbury, Linda Bell, Karen Haslam, and Shirley Mason. Deborah has single handed organised parties for pensioners and the other girls form a singing group entertaining at in youth clubs and children's homes.
Allan Barton - arguably the the happiest and best known man in town - is the reason that Tottington's so tidy. Starting his daily clean sweep at 7.30 am, he's been a member of Tottington's Brass Band for thirty-three years and a parish bell-ringer for forty. He became Tottington's road sweeper twenty years ago and takes a justifiable pride in his work. Nobody passes him without a word or a wave - and you'd have to travel a long way to meet a man more content with his lot. (Even though this is 1980, I recall Allan sweeping the streets, must have been 15 years before this. My Mother and Grandmother always spoke to him.)

The Old Town Hall built as Tottington Hall in the last century on the site of a previous hall which dates back to before1500. It was bought by the UDC in 1918 for £2,750 for use as council headquarters. (The bottom left hand pair of windows was the library - Market Street runs behind. The War Memorial is to the left.)
Now Eighty-Seven William Read (Extreme right) established his greengrocery business in Tottington in 1917. In 1947 he retired handing over to his son Frank ( seen here with his wife Dorothy). More than thirty years later. However William is still to be found helping the shop on most days, unable to stay away! Now Frank and Dorothy in turn nearing retirement. Succeeding them will be Graham Wilkinson (extreme left) who joined the business as an errand boy straight from school. ( My Grandfather Frank was on great terms with Bill, most mornings, 6.30ish, disappeared up Stormer Hill to the village to buy "Cat's pieces" for the cat. My mother boiled them for the cat - it seemed all day! The whole house smelled(smelt) of boiled fish. No wonder I feel at home in Fleetwood!)

Terraced Tottington, Bury Road.
The Old Lock up. The present Old Dungeon Inn is not the original one - that was a few yards from the lock up and is now two cottages. (more pictures and info here.)

Originally a boy's school, the building of Hollymount Convent was ought by the Sisters Charity of Jesus and Mary in 1888. It was then renovated and enlarged to provide a convent and a home for orphaned and and deprived children, and a chapel was added - serving for mny years as the Roman Catholic Parish Church. The children's home closed in the late 1950's and in 1961 the premises re-opened as a home for aged women accepting anyone recommended as in need of a home by the Social Services., regardless of religion. - Catholics number no more than half. A 350 pupil primary school is attached to the school and that too, is open to all. (Many of my friends went here, They seemed to be Catholics, lived on the "new" estate by Brookhouse. Gerard and David Brooks, we just seemed to play football using the pylon at the bottom of a nearby field as goalposts)

When he's not running the electrical business founded by his father in 1952. Peter Duckworth is organist at St Anne's Parish Church. (This business was opposite the printer Arms if I recall correctly)
Retired librarian and and keen local historian, Mrs Gladys Coupe is the author of a booklet "Tottington - the Growth and Development of a Lancashire Industrial Village" (obtainable from Bury Library or the Portico Library, Manchester 80p) She is particularly concerned about the future of the former Town Hall - "its an historic site and it is very sad to see the way it's being neglected."( I recall her being the Librarian "on duty" whenever I went in. The library was on the lefthand side of the hall. Always seemed polished and felt that you had permission to go in. The desk was against the window. The childrens' section was through a door at the end of the main library - seemed a real privilege to be able to look at the books in the "adult" section. There was like a "bookish" smell about the place - always seemed to be squeeky in the shoe department!)

Long term residents of Greenmount are Cyril Hampson and his wife Phyllis. He was chairman of the UDC in 1951-2. and upon its demise in 1974 he wrote a brief history of Tottington (now out of print). A retired paper-mill chief chemist, he is a long serving member of the Halle Society Committee, sharing his love of music with his wife - a direct descendent of the 16C. poet Edmund Spenser (My Grandmother was extremely friendly with these two. Goes back to childhood I suspect. The both served as air-raid warden s together. The used to live behind Nabbs House in Greenmount. I visited many times with my mother and Grandmother. It was not too far a walk from the school in Greenmount.)
Enjoy!